New York City Evacuates Nursing Homes and Hospitals Before Storm Hits

Hundreds of thousands were told Thursday to prepare to be evacuated as New York City braced for its first hurricane in decades. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all nursing homes and hospitals in low-lying areas evacuated beginning Friday.

“For the general public, it’s a good idea to move Friday,” Bloomberg said. “Keep in mind, it is possible — I don’t know that I want to say likely — but it is very conceivable ... that Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, we’re going to say, ‘Look, the forecast has not changed. The storm is still barreling down on us. It’s still very dangerous. You must get out of these areas.’”

Irene moved toward the Carolinas on Thursday with winds reaching 115 mph. The storm was expected to weaken after brushing North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but it will still likely be considered a hurricane as it approaches the Northeast. Forecasters said passing near Manhattan could lead to a shattered glass falling from skyscrapers, flooded subways and seawater coursing through the streets.

In the last 200 years, New York has seen only a few significant hurricanes. In 1938, a storm dubbed the "Long Island Express" came ashore about 75 miles east of the city on neighboring Long Island and then hit New England, killing 700 people and leaving 63,000 homeless.

Irene is a large storm, with tropical storm-force winds extending nearly 300 miles from its center. And the storm could hit at a time when high tides reach their highest levels, which could amplify flooding in a city built around bays and rivers. Some experts predict a storm surge of five feet or more. Lower Manhattan could see streets under a few feet of water. As the city prepares fr the storm, hospitals were told to make sure generators were ready.  For more, read the story.

Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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